In March 2011, Brian Conley and Louis Abelman journeyed to Benghazi to lay the foundation for Alive in Libya.
Entering Libya through the Egyptian border in the east, and arriving just three weeks after the revolution began, they set about making contact with local citizens at a media center set up by the opposition movement. They met with a fixer, Marwan, who became the first Libyan team member on the project. Soon after they were joined by Ahmed, a former music blogger turned citizen journalist, and Seraj, a translator and English teacher.
What followed was a 3-day crash course in citizen media, covering everything from journalistic ethics to editing and uploading digital video. The training was abruptly cut short by an imminent threat of attack on Benghazi by Gaddafi's forces. Brian and Louis fled the city, along with the majority of the international press corps. The project appeared to be at an end.
Less than two days later, though, the local team in Benghazi recovered from the assault and began putting their training into action. A series of videos, including dramatic footage of air battles over Benghazi, interviews with rebels at the front in Ajdabiya, as well as the spring flower festival were uploaded to Small World News' producers in the United States, and kept Alive in Libya online.
In its first two weeks, the team produced over 25 video segments, with subjects ranging from footage of the executions of Gaddafi's mercenaries to short documentaries on Red Crescent refugee camps. The content was then vetted, translated, and published on the Alive in Libya website.
Since then Alive in Libya has published over 400 videos and articles, both original content from our team in Benghazi, and curated and enhanced content from other local citizen journalists and producers inside Libya.